Your Visit Checklist


Use these lists to know what to expect and to help prepare as much as possible.

  • Tell the person who answers the phone that you got referred by ICAN!’s website and that you are interested in making an appointment for birth control. If you already know what type of birth control you want, please let them know so they book the correct type of appointment.  If you aren’t sure, tell them you want to make an appointment to discuss birth control options.  If you need emergency contraception, please say that so they know to see you as soon as possible.

    Have your health insurance card available—a wallet-size card that has your policy number on it. If you have a plan from Medicaid, the health center can look you up on the State database. If you don’t have insurance or are afraid to use your insurance, let the health center know. Quality Hubs can help you qualify for other funds; you will be asked to provide basic financial information. Nobody will be turned away for service due to inability to pay, ever.

    Be ready to provide simple personal information such as your date of birth, home address, and best contact number. Remember, if you are under 18 years old, Illinois law says it’s okay for you to go to your healthcare appointment for visits such as birth control without your parents knowing (IL minor consent law).  All information you provide to the health center is considered protected health information so privacy rules are always followed (HIPAA).

    Know your work or school schedule so you can make an appointment that fits your busy life so be sure to have your calendar available. Of course, things may come up, so if you have to reschedule, please call the health center as soon as you know.

    Confirm the Quality Hub’s address, phone number, the provider’s name, and the date and time of your appointment. Be sure you understand if your appointment is in person or virtual.  And if you need to bring guests, including your children, please let them know (due to COVID-19 these rules are always changing).

    If you are driving, ask about parking. 

  • If you are currently using another method of birth control be sure to continue using it through the day of your appointment. If you are unsure of which methods, try our PATH quiz to better understand your options.

    If you are not using another method of birth control but may be at risk of pregnancy (meaning having sex with someone who has sperm), be sure to use male or female condoms 100% of the time before your appointment.

    If you are on your period, that is completely fine. There is no reason to cancel your appointment if you are bleeding from your period. For those getting an IUD, being on your period can sometimes make it even easier for the insertion, but it doesn’t matter.

    If you are having an IUD insertion you can take any over-the-counter medication that you usually take for heavy cramps 1-2 hours before your appointment. Eat a little something before you take the medication.

    Try to come with your bladder full so you can provide a urine sample. The urine will be tested to be sure you are NOT pregnant and your provider may send a sample for gonorrhea and chlamydia screening. These are routine tests.

    If you have never had a gynecological visit (such as for a pap smear), it’s okay! The provider will talk you through everything, and you will get a chance to ask any questions.  Remember, a pelvic exam is not required to start or continue most birth controls.  

  • Ask for instruction about what to expect after starting a method. Review the normal side effects and expected bleeding. Be sure you have the health center’s telephone number so you can contact the provider or a nurse if you have concerns later.

    If you had an IUD or implant, have feminine hygiene products available, such as pantiliners, pads, or tampons.   

    Depending on what method you selected and where you are in your menstrual cycle, many birth control methods require you to wait 7 days before you have protection from pregnancy.  Please do not have sex or use a condom during this waiting period. And remember, only condoms decrease the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).  When you are at the office, ask for free or low-cost condoms or ask for a prescription of condoms that you can fill at your local pharmacy. 

    If you don’t have a primary care provider (sometimes called a PCP) and you had a positive experience with your Quality Hub provider, you could ask about continuing your regular healthcare there. If you are under 18, you will need your parent/guardian to consent to routine medical care outside of birth control/STI testing.

    ICAN! is here to help with non- medical questions. Get in touch with us ican4all@alliancechicago.org.

    Share your appointment experience with ICAN! here. We are striving to provide excellent service to everyone. You may get a text or email with a patient satisfaction survey link or your provider may have already shared a QR code after your visit.  Thank you in advance for taking 60 secs to share your experience.

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